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Cost of Attendance Report for 1997

Who Are Our Students?

In Connecticut, like everywhere else in the United States, today’s typical undergraduate student looks less and less like the traditional stereotype of a recent high school graduate, typically male, pursuing a bachelor’s degree full-time before going off to face the real world. In fact, less than 41 percent of Connecticut’s undergraduates are full-time, degree-seeking men and women aged 18 to 21. At our public colleges and universities the figure is only 31 percent.

Who are Connecticut’s typical undergraduates? A clear majority are women (56.5 percent) and just over half (51 percent) are over age 22. At the Connecticut Community-Technical Colleges, almost 60 percent are age 25 or above. While a majority are still white (77.2 percent), a growing proportion are minorities (22.8 percent).

About 44 percent attend part-time which means that many students are taking more than two years to complete an associates degree and more than four years to complete a baccalaureate degree if, indeed, that was their intention in the first place. We know that in our community-technical colleges, in particular, many students enroll for a specific course or series of courses to meet immediate training or educational needs, and not necessarily to complete a degree. Others, however, are attending part-time while working or may "stop out" and then return to college after a semester or longer for economic reasons.3

Connecticut’s college and universities enroll less than 50 percent of high school graduates who go onto college right after graduation. In 1992, some 19,768 Connecticut high school graduates were new college freshmen. Of these, 10,218 or 52 percent left Connecticut for colleges elsewhere. This is unfortunate from an economic perspective since Connecticut loses dollars which flow out to pay out-of-state college tuition and forgoes valuable future workforce talent.4

Students attending Connecticut public higher education do so for three main reasons: to earn a credential, to get or keep a job or to improve their financial situation. Thus, the higher education experience for most students in our public system is an economic activity. They attend the particular institutions they do because the institutions are affordable, are close to home and/or offer the specific academic program they want. They think the most important products or outcomes of a public higher education are good communication skills, critical thinking skills, technical skills and a good work ethic.5

Table of Contents

Trends and Challenges
Who Are Our Students?
How Much Does It Cost to Go to College in Connecticut?
Can Connecticut Students Afford to Pay?
How Does Financial Aid Work?
Are Our Colleges Able to Meet Need?
Are Connecticut Public Colleges Affordable?  
Conclusions and Recommendations

End Notes  
Attachment A

Attachment B
Attachment C
Attachment D
Attachment E 

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